Erik Wollo: Visions: a Collection of Music by Erik Wollo

With eight re-mastered selections taken from twelve Projekt releases, Visions offers a low-priced, hour-long sampling of work Norwegian electronic artist Erik Wollo produced between 2010 and 2015. His material sits comfortably alongside the work of other ambient-electronic artists, though Wollo's distances itself from theirs in threading electric guitars, e-bow guitars, and guitar synthesizer (and even an occasional guitar solo) in amongst the usual electronic elements. He also opts for a rather more energy-charged presentation compared to the ambient norm, a move that in turn makes his tracks play less like wallpaper meditations than vibrant, melodic instrumentals.

The beatific, synthesizer-rich soundworld of his Echotides and Airborne releases are well-represented by the quiet splendour of the kinetic reveries “Echotides No 4” and “Airborne 2.” Blue Radiance's “Revealed in Time” flirts with New Age in merging synth whooshes with sequencer patterns before a tougher downtempo groove and chiming guitar figure add some welcome muscle to the proceedings. Percolating traces of ethno-tribalism work their way into the sound design of 2010's stately “Gateway,” the Possibilities of Circumstance compilation track “Misty Blue,” and, even more overtly, Tundra's “The Native Chant.”

If there's a downside to Visions, it's that its content goes down perhaps a little too smoothly. In being so unfailingly harmonious and polished, material of Wollo's kind can lack the kind of tension and edge that would make it register more powerfully. There's no disputing the beauty of the music and the immaculateness of its presentation, but some small degree of dissonance or rawness wouldn't be unwelcome.

March 2016